No longer is a Q3 available for under $45,000, with the 2.0 TDI manual two-wheel-drive replaced by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic all-wheel-drive model utilising the same 103kW/320Nm engine, priced from $47,500.
That leaves the Audi Q3 a quattro-only range. The three other available models all receive minor equipment and pricing alterations, including the 125kW/280Nm 2.0 TFSI ($49,450, up $2450), the 130kW/380Nm 2.0 TDI ($55,000, up $500) and the 155kW/300Nm 2.0 TFSI ($56,500, up $500).
Standard on all models are 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, leather trim, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors, and automatic headlights and wipers. New equipment added includes an Audi Music Interface with USB/iPod connectivity, and a storage and luggage compartment package.
Audi has also aligned its Q3 optional equipment packages with that of the recently-launched A3 hatchback.
Buyers can choose from an optional ($2000) Style package comprising xenon headlights with LED daytime lights and 18-inch wheels; a ($3790) Technik package that bundles MMI navigation with a 20Gb hard drive and twin SD card rearers, front parking sensors, rear camera and area view, and upgraded sound system; a ($3990) Comfort package adding Nappa leather, electrically adjustable front seats with lumbar support, front seat heating, convenience key, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror; an ($1250) Assistance packaging boasting active lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitor and automatic high-beam operation; and an ($6000) S-Line sport package boasting Alcantara and leather trim, xenon headlights with LED daytime lights, and sports interior and exterior trim bits including sports steering wheel.
Previously just one per cent of Audi Q3 sales comprised the 2.0 TDI front-wheel-drive entry-level model, mainly due to its singular availability with a manual transmission in what is a heavily automatic-biased segment. Audi says it expects the entry 103kW 2.0-litre model to now command a higher share of total Q3 sales. The new base model costs $2200 more than before, but buyers gain quattro all-wheel-drive in addition to the automatic transmission.
Audi also boasts that its new all-wheel-drive base model costs $1443 less than its closest competitor in the premium compact SUV segment, the two-wheel-drive BMW X1 sDrive 18d.
To August this year, the Audi Q3 has notched up 2107 sales, a massive 195 per cent increase over the same period last year, overtaking the BMW X1 (with 1218 sales over the same period) in the process.
Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle admits the brand has “been pushing hard” its 'Land of quattro' campaign message, arguing that all-wheel-drive Audis now contibute to 67 per cent of total sales, compared with just 26 per cent in 2004.
“For Audi … quattro is an icon of the brand,” he added, committing to increasing the number of quattro models available across the Audi line-up locally.